Matching top 2015 prospects with NHL players they could be like

Comparing the top 35 draft prospects of 2015 to the NHL players they are expected to be like.
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Mention the name of an undrafted prospect to the average fan and the first thing they will want to know is who he plays like. Fans love player comparisons.

Scouts, on the other hand, hate ’em.

There are no perfect comparisons, they’ll tell you. A prospect might pass like Joe Thornton but skate like Shawn Thornton. Or maybe there’s only one specific part of a kid’s game that reminds them of a veteran player.

Mostly though they avoid them because they don’t want to oversell/undersell a kid. They’ve all been burned before by doing that. But occasionally they’ll drop a name. And that’s what we’ve compiled here: a glimpse into the 2015 NHL Draft prospects you may not have had the chance to see yet, but would like to have a quick point of reference.

Again, these aren’t direct comparisons. Pavel Zacha may be a big, bruising center but that doesn’t mean he’ll become the next David Backes. He just sort of fits that general mold.

In other words, take these as intended: with a large grain of salt.

Forwards

CONNOR McDAVID, ERIE OTTERS, OHL

Smart, creative generational high-end center like Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby

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• JACK EICHEL, BOSTON UNIVERSITY, NCAA
Powerful game-changing center like Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf

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• DYLAN STROME, ERIE OTTERS, OHL
Competitive No. 1 center like Carolina's Eric Staal

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• MITCH MARNER, LONDON KNIGHTS, OHL
Electrifying point producer like Chicago's Patrick Kane

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• MATHEW BARZAL, SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS, WHL
Speedy offensive wizard like Colorado's Matt Duchene

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• PAVEL ZACHA, SARNIA STING, OHL 
Dominating physical center like St. Louis’s David Backes

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• LAWSON CROUSE, KINGSTON FRONTENACS, OHL
Dangerous power forward like Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd

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• MIKKO RANTANEN, TPS TURKU, FINLAND
Speedy powerful winger like Montreal's Max Pacioretty

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• KYLE CONNOR, YOUNGSTOWN PHANTOMS, USHL
A speed demon with high-end offensive skill like Los Angeles’s Marian Gaborik

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• TIMO MEIER, HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS, QMJHL
Big, hard-working scorer like Calgary's Sean Monahan

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• COLIN WHITE, USA NTDP, USHL
An elite two-way, top-six center like Boston's Patrice Bergeron

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• NICK MERKLEY, KELOWNA ROCKETS, WHL
A creative goal-scoring winger like Jordan Eberle

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• EVGENY SVECHNIKOV, CAPE BRETON SCREAMING EAGLES, QMJHL
A dangerous goal-scoring forward like Vancouver's Radim Vrbata

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• TRAVIS KONECNY, OTTAWA 67s, OHL
A gritty forward who plays bigger than his size like Montreal's Brendan Gallagher

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• JOEL ERIKSSON EK, FARJESTAD, SWEDEN
Big middle-six center like Minnesota's Nino Niederreiter

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• JANSEN HARKINS, PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS, WHL
A defensive-minded two-way center like Nashville's Colin Wilson

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• JAKE DeBRUSK, SWIFT CURRENT BRONCOS, WHL
A physical goal-scoring winger like Columbus’s Nick Foligno

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• DANIEL SPRONG, CHARLOTTETOWN ISLANDERS, QMJHL
Elite scorer with holes in his defensive game like Toronto’s Phil Kessel

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• PAUL BITTNER, PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS, WHL
An overpowering physical winger like Columbus's Scott Hartnell

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• DENIS GURYANOV, TOGLIATTI 2, Russia
A speedy sniper with a high-end shot like the Rangers' Chris Kreider

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• BROCK BOESER, WATERLOO BLACK HAWKS, USHL
A versatile goal scorer like Chicago’s Patrick Sharp

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• DENNIS YAN, SHAWINIGAN CATARACTES, QMJHL
An inconsistent but highly talented scorer like Carolina’s Alexander Semin

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Defensemen

• IVAN PROVOROV, BRANDON WHEAT KINGS, WHL
Smart, do-it-all defender like Nashville's Roman Josi

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• NOAH HANIFIN, BOSTON COLLEGE, NCAA
High-end two-way defender like St. Louis' Alex Pietrangelo

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• ZACH WERENSKI, MICHIGAN, NCAA
Heady, two-way defender like the New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh

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• THOMAS CHABOT, SAINT JOHN SEA DOGS, QMJHL
An offensive-minded defender like the Rangers' Keith Yandle

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• JEREMY ROY, SHERBROOKE PHOENIX, QMHJL
A future power-play quarterback like Carolina's Justin Faulk

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• JAKUB ZBORIL, SAINT JOHN SEA DOGS, QMJHL
A reliable utility defenseman like Detroit’s Jakub Kindl

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• NOAH JUULSEN, EVERETT SILVERTIPS, QMJHL
A safe, two-way defender like Detroit's Danny DeKeyser

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• BRANDON CARLO, TRI-CITY AMERICANS, WHL
A tall, smooth-skating defenseman like Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers

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• OLIVER KYLINGTON, FARJESTAD, SHL
An offensive-minded defenseman like Washington’s Matt Niskanen

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• GABRIEL CARLSSON, LINKOPING JRS, SWEDEN
Tall, lanky shutdown defender like Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson

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Goaltenders

• ILYA SAMSONOV, MAGNITOGORSK, RUSSIA
Sizable, athletic puckstopper like Columbus’sSergei Bobrovsky

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• DANIEL VLADAR, KLADNO 2, CZECH REPUBLIC
Tall, energetic keeper like Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom

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